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Scottish court hands Boris Johnson fresh Brexit blow

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a fresh blow Wednesday when a Scottish court ruled that his controversial decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful.

The government immediately appealed, with the case set to be heard in the Supreme Court next Tuesday, and parliament set to remain shut in the meantime.

Johnson says the decision to suspend — or prorogue — parliament until October 14 is a routine move allowing his government to launch a new legislative agenda.

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But critics accuse him of trying to silence parliamentary opposition to his threat to leave the European Union on October 31 even if he has failed to agree divorce terms with Brussels.

If Johnson fails to secure a deal he insists the country will leave anyway, to the outrage of many MPs who believe a “no deal” exit would bring huge disruption.

After the legal ruling, the opposition Labour party demanded that Johnson urgently recall parliament, which was suspended for five weeks on Tuesday.

AFP / ISABEL INFANTES Parliament remains shut pending appeals against the prime minister’s controversial decision to suspend it

However, a government source told AFP that “nothing is changing” until the case was concluded.

The case, brought by 78 British lawmakers, was rejected by a Scottish lower court last week but was overturned Wednesday by the Inner House, Scotland’s supreme civil court.

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It found that Johnson’s advice to Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue parliament “was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying parliament”, a summary judgement said.

A British government spokesman said: “We are disappointed by today’s decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

“The UK government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”

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He noted a separate legal challenge to prorogation brought at the High Court in London last week had failed.

– ‘Recall parliament’ –

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Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer welcomed the ruling, saying: “No one in their right mind believed Boris Johnson’s reason for shutting down parliament.

“I urge the prime minister to immediately recall parliament so we can debate this judgement and decide what happens next.”

Scotland’s first minister, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon, echoed his call.

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AFP / Gillian HANDYSIDE Several scenarios for Brexit are up in the air

“The immediate political implications are clear… parliament must be recalled immediately to allow the essential work of scrutiny to continue,” she tweeted.

The summary judgement said the court would make an order declaring that Johnson’s advice to the queen and the subsequent prorogation was “null and of no effect”.

However, the government source said there would be no order issued ahead of next week’s appeal.

Legal commentator David Allen Green suggested that the case was likely to fail when it reached the Supreme Court, pointing out that Scottish law was different from that of England and Wales.

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“That is why I and others would have put the chances of the action succeeding in London as zero. And that is why cannily the action was launched in Scotland, where judges and the law would be far more receptive,” he tweeted.

– Brexit delay –

Johnson took office in July promising to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit by taking Britain out of the European Union on schedule on October 31 whatever the circumstances.

He says he is working hard to agree new exit terms, after the deal negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May was rejected by MPs, despite EU leaders insisting the current terms are the best on offer.

AFP / Tolga Akmen Protesters have demonstrated in London for and against Brexit

Last week, between returning from their summer holidays and parliament’s suspension, MPs passed a law to force Johnson to delay Brexit if he does not get a new deal by an EU summit on October 17-18.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday that the bloc should not make any further concessions to Britain.


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Bill Barr slammed by ex-FBI official for ignoring the right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois’ infiltrating protests

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Attorney General Bill Barr was slammed by the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for misleading Americans about the source of violence at the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

"There's evidence developing, Brian, that the organization we're seeing of the most violent protesters is coming from a couple of disturbing places," both, by the way, there's disparate in terms in being from the right or the left. here's what those who monitor these groups and sites are seeing.

"We're seeing a far-right group, one group for example known as the Boogaloo Bois, who on their private Facebook page and social media outlets are calling for violence, calling for people to show up," Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC's Brian Williams.

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Trump is the ‘greatest troll in the history of the internet’ and Twitter needs to ‘pull the plug’: NYT columnist

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President Donald Trump would face an existential crisis if Twitter were to enforce it's own rules and hold him accountable -- and one New York Times columnist wants to see it happen.

"C’mon, @Jack. You can do it," Maureen Dowd wrote, referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with his username on the platform.

She urged Dorsey to "just pull the plug on him."

"You could answer the existential question of whether @realDonaldTrump even exists if he doesn’t exist on Twitter. I tweet, therefore I am. Dorsey meets Descartes," she explained. "All it would take is one sweet click to force the greatest troll in the history of the internet to meet his maker."

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Justice Roberts took ‘clear swipe’ at Kavanaugh in opinion siding with liberals in religion case: report

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On Friday night, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, holding that California Gov. Gavin Newsom's restrictions on church gatherings are not a violation of religious liberty. Chief Justice John Roberts crossed over to join with the liberals for a 5-4 split.

But the ruling was dramatic in a key way. As court watcher Mark Joseph Stern wrote for Slate, Justice Brett Kavanaugh "falsely accused the state of religious discrimination in an extremely misleading opinion that omits the most important facts of the case" in his dissent — and was so dishonest that Roberts went out of his way to rebuke him in the Court opinion.

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